Nine is fine to start the season
THE start of the Group 2 season may still be five weeks away but the Hoey Moey Tooheys Coffs Coast 9's to be played on Saturday will be the first chance clubs will have to eye each other off before the serious matches begin.
Coffs Harbour president Steve Gooley said although it's not 13 on 13, there'll be plenty for rugby league purists who make their way to Geoff King Motors Park to enjoy with nine players on each side.
"This used to be a sevens comp but nines is a whole lot better," Gooley said.
"Sevens is more like touch whereas Nines is more like an actual rugby league game."
Saturday afternoon's festival of football isn't just for the first grade players though.
There's also under-18s and Ladies League Tag competitions today with particular interest on the ladies ahead of their inauguarl Group 2 season.
Playing on its home ground, Coffs Harbour will be out to break the stranglehold arch-rival Sawtell held on the format last year.
Sawtell will be fielding an under-18 and Ladies Tag team only this time but the Comets will be facing other local clubs to take part in Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo and Macksville.
The Comets will be fielding two evenly matched teams but a look at the draw suggests there's a good chance the trophy might be headed out of town.
Leading the charge of the out of town raiders will be the reigning Group 2 premier South Grafton.
The Rebels will be joined in the fast paced, open play action that nines football offers by the Wingham Tigers, Cudgen Hornets, Lower Clarence Magpies, North Tamworth Bears and former Group 2 powerhouse Port Macquarie Sharks.
The Comets have had a strong pre-season so far with a strong emphasis on fitness but captain-coach Kerrod Selmes said the Nines format will prove a test for his players.
"Running on the track is a lot different to running around with the ball," Selmes said.
"But to be honest we're looking pretty fit. There's some new faces at the club and there's a really good vibe around."
HOEY MOEY TOOHEYS COFFS COAST 9's
Geoff King Motors Park
First game kicks off at 2pm
Finals to start at around 6pm
Who will win the 2017 Group 2 Rugby League title?
This poll ended on 09 August 2017.
Coffs Harbour Comets
Macksville Sea Eagles
Nambucca Heads Roosters
Orara Valley Axemen
South Grafton Rebels
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.